March 14, 2004
EUGENE VOLOKH points out that the Spanish election makes "multilateralism" even less appealing:
Those voters' position would be understandable -- perhaps not terribly sound in the long term, but understandable: The deaths were caused by Aznar's policies, since if he had not supported the Americans (over the opposition of most Spaniards, as I understand), the bombings probably wouldn't have happened; therefore, let's punish Aznar, and send politicians a message to prevent this from happening again.
But if that's so, then doesn't it show that we can't allow our foreign policy to be vetoed by other nations? After all, if we agree that we may not do what we think is right and necessary for our national security if any one of England, France, Russia, or China says "veto," then our enemies can paralyze us simply by influencing one foreign country. The influence might be exerted by bribes (more here), or by threat of terrorist violence. But one way or another, an enemy that couldn't break down our resolve could still stop us from doing what needs to be done by breaking down the resolve of one of the veto-owning countries. (The same applies if we just generally agree not to go ahead without the agreement of "our European allies" generally -- if the threat of terrorist retaliation cows several of those allies, that could be enough to stymie our plans.)
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: The Financial Times reports:
The Socialist party had been less tough on Eta but diplomats expected the new government to take a tough line on al-Qaeda.
The issue of counter-terrorism issues has been catapulted on to next week's summit agenda, instead of the June summit.
Diplomats said member states were in no mood to suggest that only those countries that supported the US-led war in Iraq were vulnerable. "Terrorism affects every country. Terrorist networks use countries in which to 'sleep'," said a senior EU diplomat.
Let's hope that the "tough line" expectation is met, in deeds, not just words. Zapatero is promising a tough line: ("'My most immediate priority is to beat all forms of terrorism,' said Zapatero, asking for a minute's silence in honour of the 200 people killed in the bombings on four packed commuter trains.") Let's hope.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Mark Steyn offers a guide for the perplexed. And SWLIP says that Zapatero is engaging in doublespeak.
Andrew Sullivan has more. He also links to this assessment of how the overall war is going, which is worth reading, especially for those depressed about the Spanish elections.
MORE: Tacitus has a lengthy post on why appeasement won't work for Spain, which has been an Islamist target for some time.